Eleven years after the project was first announced, Tottenham are close to officially opening their brand new stadium after successfully hosting the first of two planned test events.
From four giant HD screens to pints that pour from the bottom and a plethora of memorabilia saved from White Hart Lane, the ground embraces both the past and the future.
Sportsmail talks you through every new feature of the £1billion, 62,000-capacity stadium, including the record-breaking South Stand and retractable pitch.
‘We are crying again because our dreams have come true’: Mauricio Pochettino elated at Tottenham’s grand opening of new White Hart Lane
Mauricio Pochettino was a happy man as he took in Tottenham’s new stadium along with a crowd of almost 30,000 on Sunday.
The official attendance at the new £1billion, 62,062-capacity White Hart Lane was 28,987 as Spurs Under 18s beat Southampton 3-1.
Pochettino attended the match with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and the Argentine boss was delighted with what he saw.
Pochettino said at half-time of the Under 18’s match: ‘It’s unbelievable. So difficult to explain in a few words. We all feel the same. So excited.
‘I got the same feeling when we left the last day at White Hart Lane and we were crying and now the first day here, the first day in the new stadium, we feel the same emotions, we are crying again because our dreams have come true.’
Sunday’s match was the first test match and saw J’Neil Bennett grab the first ever goal at the new stadium as he put Spurs’ Under-18 side ahead after just 11 minutes.
Tottenham legends will play a game against Inter Milan on March 30 in a second test event.
The first official game will be Spurs’ clash with Crystal Palace on April 3 and Pochettino has thanked everyone behind the scenes for getting to this stage.
‘We must say thank you to Daniel Levy because he was the one who believed in that dream and he deserves big applause, and all the board and the people behind the scenes who worked so hard to make this dream a reality.
‘And the fans, thank you for being patient for the last two years at Wembley, with all that means to move from your home, but the pay-off is going to be amazing and a massive help for the team to have the possibility to finish this season.
‘We are in a very good place in PL and we know we have a massive challenge in the quarter final of the CL but with all our fans, 62,000 people we can make possible our dream to be in the semi-final, why not?’
Tottenham have played their league games at Wembley since August 2017 and were unbeaten at the old White Hart Lane in Spurs’ final season at that ground in the 2016-17 campaign.
In his programme notes for the occasion, Levy wrote: ‘It is my pleasure to welcome you back to Tottenham as the first visitors for a football fixture inside our new home.
‘You are playing your part in history this afternoon. This is the first of two test events that we are staging to achieve a formal safety certificate that will allow us to officially open our new stadium against Crystal Palace on April 3.
‘This afternoon presents an exciting opportunity for our Under-18s to become the first team to take to the pitch as they play their league fixture against Southampton.
‘We are extremely proud of the club’s reputation for developing players for our first team squad. We hope today marks the first of many appearances these players will make for the club and that they follow a similar route to many of our other successful academy graduates.
‘This stadium has been built for future generations of Spurs players so it is entirely apt that our Under-18s kick off here today.
‘We hope you enjoy your afternoon with us and on behalf of everyone at the club, thank you for your support in helping us open our new stadium.’
Levy was pictured strolling around the pitch with Mauricio Pochettino ahead of kick-off.
Tottenham’s new stadium may have opened late and over budget… but it has a special quality: This £1bn ground has retained an essence of the old White Hart Lane and the spirit of Spurs – by Matt Barlow
Ninety seven weeks after that teary farewell to their beloved White Hart Lane in the rain and Tottenham were back in N17, throwing open the doors to their new home and coming over all emotional once again.
This time it was a sense of pride and achievement welling up inside because the stadium, albeit nearly seven months late and over-budget with the final bill likely to exceed £1billion, has delivered on something new build football stadiums rarely do; it has retained an essence of the old ground and the spirit of Spurs.
Of course, there are huge commercial advantages to this stylish NFL friendly venue with all mod cons.
Yet, this being football and this being Tottenham – and bearing in mind all the problems connected to West Ham’s move from Upton Park – an umbilical cord to the past seemed to be just as precious as the ability to dispense 10,000 pints of beer per second or inform the crowd via four crystal clear video screens that the Stansted Express had been suspended.
Familiar comforts were in place, with the dark blue seats and cockerels galore, including the giant golden one high on its perch above the imposing South Stand, a replica of a design present since 1909, and the jaunty refrain of ‘McNamara’s Band’ at the start of the second half.
Rubble from the old stadium is embedded into polished concrete floors of the public concourses, and the old centre-circle and corner flags placings have been preserved, but the key is something about the angles and sightlines which make it feel reassuring like the stadium they bulldozed in May 2017.
‘It is unbelievable,’ said Mauricio Pochettino as he stepped out on to the touchline and addressed the fans during the half-time interval of this test event as Tottenham beat Southampton 3-1 in the Under-18 Premier League, before a crowd of 28,987.
‘It’s so difficult to explain in a few words but we all feel the same, so excited. I got the same feeling when we left on the last day at White Hart Lane and we were crying and now on the first day here in the new stadium, we feel the same emotions, and we are crying again because our dreams have come true.’
Pochettino thanked chairman Daniel Levy, the board and backroom staff for making it possible and supporters for their patience during the hiatus at Wembley, before urging them to convert this scaled-up home into a sporting advantage for the final five home games of the Premier League season and the Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City, next month.
‘It is going to be a massive fillip for the team to feel all our fans,’ said the manager. ‘It is our new house, and our new home and it is going to be magic. White Hart Lane was magic and this is going to be one of the best of the best in the world. When it starts to feel like home it will be unbelievable. I really believe the future of the club is going to be fantastic.
‘We are in a very good place in Premier League and we know we have a massive challenge in quarter-finals of the Champions League but with all our fans, with 62,000 people, we can make possible our dream to be in the semi-finals. Why not?’
Pochettino waved to his cheering public and returned to his seat in the directors’ box beside chairman Levy as they savoured the occasion and the positive reaction.
An early chorus of ‘we are Tottenham from the Lane’ came with extra feeling and the noise generated by a crowd less than half the capacity was impressive as it swirled around inside the stadium in the game’s early stages.
Officially it will be known for now as Tottenham Hotspur Stadium not White Hart Lane, pending the sale of naming rights.
Spiritually, however, there was no question. This was Stage One of a homecoming complete. Next up, legends of Spurs and Inter Milan will meet on Saturday, before the official opening against Crystal Palace on Wednesday week.
‘You are playing your part in history,’ was the message from Levy, who celebrated the youth team’s involvement on the big day. ‘This stadium has been built for future generations of Spurs players so it is entirely apt that our Under-18s kick-off here.
‘We are extremely proud of the club’s reputation for developing young players for our first team squad. We hope today marks the first of many appearances these players will make for the club and that they follow a similar route to many of our other successful academy graduates.’